Key events of Spain's post-Franco monarchy

19th June 2014, Comments 1 comment

Spain's King Felipe VI took the throne Thursday after his father Juan Carlos's abdication became law at midnight, formalising the first royal succession of the post-Franco era.

Here are the key events of the monarchy:


On November 22, 1975, two days after the death of General Francisco Franco who ruled Spain for four decades, the parliament proclaims Juan Carlos as king. Five days later, Juan Carlos is anointed in central Madrid's Jeronimos Church. The new king supports parliamentary elections and the drawing-up of a new democratic constitution in 1978.


On November 23, 1981 soldiers burst shooting into parliament in an attempted military coup. Hours later, Juan Carlos appears on national television demanding an end to the revolt. "I knew that the soldiers were going to agree because I had been named by Franco," he said later. Juan Carlos keeps his son Felipe by his side at the palace to learn from the experience.


After the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004, Juan Carlos and his wife Queen Sofia throw protocol aside at a memorial service, comforting the families of some of the 191 people killed. The royals' show of sympathy endears them to many Spaniards.


On April 18, 2012, Juan Carlos issues an unprecedented public apology for taking a luxury elephant-hunting safari to Botswana that sparked indignation in recession-hit Spain. He said sorry while emerging on crutches from hospital after breaking his hip on the visit and being forced to return to Spain for surgery.


On February 8, 2014, the king's eldest daughter, Princess Cristina, is questioned by an investigating judge on suspicion of involvement in her husband Inaki Urdangarin's allegedly corrupt business practices. Urdangarin's non-profit Noos Institute is accused of creaming off money from government contracts for organising sports events and conferences.


On June 2, Juan Carlos announces he has decided to abdicate to allow the "renewal" of the monarchy. He hands over the throne to his son, 46-year-old Felipe de Borbon, Prince of Asturias, a 1.98-metre (six foot six inches) tall, former Olympic yachtsman, who has been relatively unscathed by the scandals hurting others in the royal family.


On June 18, a teary-eyed Juan Carlos signs an act of parliament on his abdication, which takes effect at midnight the same day. Felipe assumes the throne as king, making his glamorous 41-year-old wife Letizia queen and his elder daughter eight-year-old Leonor the direct heir to the throne. King Felipe VI is to be formally sworn in before parliament on June 19, after which he will appear before crowds on the balcony of the old Royal Palace in Madrid.

© 2014 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • fred posted:

    on 19th June 2014, 14:07:17 - Reply

    Christina is the younger daughter of the King. Elena is the eldest.